Chantal Gamble
18 August, 2023

What are the benefits of a 2-week timetable?

You may have heard towards the end of the last academic year that our Secondary students will be switching to a two-week timetable, either at our parent workshop led by Deputy Head of Curriculum and Learning, Mr Lee Falconer, in our weekly update or directly from your child. But what does this mean and why change? How will this benefit learning and the educational experience at BIS HCMC? 

Mondays in Week A and Mondays in Week B may look totally different, with a better balance of lessons throughout the fortnight. Improvements we have made include:



6 periods spread evenly across the school day with regular breaks in between

Balances the school day so students will learn for 2 periods and then a break.

An earlier break and lunch session so that they are able to refuel and recharge between lessons.

5 minute transition times between lessons

Students no longer need to rush across campus between lessons.

Improves wellbeing for both students and teachers and allows lessons to start on time.

An additional literacy lesson per fortnight at KS3

Students will benefit from an extra literacy lesson in their timetable which has been shown to improve their academic success across all disciplines.

Learn more about how we are implementing new strategies to improve our literacy across the secondary campus in our blog.

A careful blend of single and double periods depending on the subjects and year groups

We have optimised the lesson frequency and duration for different subjects.

Instead of 75 minute lessons for every subject, some subjects will benefit from shorter 50 minute lessons more frequently (for example a language) and other more practical subjects like the arts will benefit from a double period of 105 minutes.

An extended form time on Wednesdays for Wellbeing lessons

Students will now benefit from having their wellbeing lessons led by their form tutor, creating stronger relationships.

The two-week model has been an ongoing project at BIS HCMC over the last two years, with thousands of hours of discussion and academic research to ensure we find the best possible outcomes for our students, to improve both academics and wellbeing. 

So what does the research say?



A recent GL Assessment analysed the data from more than 370,000 secondary school students in the UK and found a significant relationship between reading ability and GCSE results across all subjects. This research suggests that an increase of time spent on literacy skills will improve academic success across all disciplines. Our additional 50-minute literacy lesson per fortnight will be  skills based sessions called Reciprocal Reading. Learn more about this in our recent blog.

How often should subject teachers meet their students?



All of the research shows that the more frequently students review subject matter, the more likely they are to retain that information to long term memory. A 2006 analysis by Cepeda et al. looked at 254 separate studies and found that increasing lesson frequency improved assessment scores by 10%. Yet currently in Years 7-9 students study many subjects just once per week, making it more difficult for students to retain information. 

Increasing lesson frequency would not only help students solidify their understanding of the lesson content, it also provides more opportunities to build strong teacher-student relationships. Studies show that students with supportive teacher-student relationships report more positive attitudes to learning and feel more satisfied at school. 

How long should a lesson be?

Currently every subject across every year group in secondary is 75 minutes long. But, can a more practical lesson like art be as productive in 75 minutes as say a language for example? Can year 7 students focus for the same amount of time as a year 13 student? 

Our curriculum leaders set out to answer these questions with in depth research and discussion amongst colleagues and what they found was that some subjects and year groups would benefit from having shorter and more frequent lesson times. Whilst some subjects and year groups would benefit with longer double period lessons. 



By putting more emphasis on literacy, rebalancing our curriculum and school day and providing more opportunities for teacher-student bonding, we are certain that the new timetable will not only improve academic performance but also increase positive attitudes to learning and wellbeing for both students and teachers at BIS HCMC.